What with the wonderful postcards we’ve been receiving and the stories of the postcards you’ve been making, writing and simply enjoying we’ve been bitten by the travel bug! Seeing images from all these beautiful places in our own country and around the world has left us wanting to explore our planet a little more. And as I like a challenge, this weekend M and I decided to day trip to India.
Well, day trip to almost-India….
We packed our bags with essential supplies for the journey (chocolate buttons), checked our passports and tickets, and set off to explore the sights, sounds and smells of India as best we could. How was it possible that we could leave home after breakfast, and be back by mid afternoon and still manage all of this? Well, we explored India as she appears in our own city!
We live in one of the largest cities in the UK outside of London, and there is a large Indian diaspora community to be found here. We took the bus to one part of town which is famous for its Indian community and started to explore.
We saw some amazing “Indian” architecture…
… visited a temple (whilst we were looking at the building we were kindly invited in and offered a meal!)
… tried some Indian sweets
… marvelled at the jewellery
… and visited a sari department store
… which we didn’t manage to leave empty-handed!
This lovely book is a short but loving eulogy on the comfort and possibilities bound up in the smell, texture, colours and warmth of an item associated with a person you love. The book made us all laugh (a sari is good for an emergency nose wipe!) and it made us nod in recognition (a sari – or in our case a shawl – is great for playing with, hiding in and snuggling up under.)
The mixed media illustrations have a fresh and modern feel – the use of photos of saris alongside fun-loving children drawn simply in acrylic worked exceptionally well for us. Without being heavily laden with culture-specific references the images “translated” well – making it easier (I believe) for M and J to see the children in the images, although from another country, as just like them, playing the same sorts of games and getting up to the same sorts of mischief.
Although in once sense very culturally specific, the “message” of this book is wonderfully universal – about a child’s love for his or her mother and how even just the sense of being close can bring such comfort and security.
The endpages of My mother’s sari give an illustrated step by step guide to putting on a sari – and we used these instructions to dress me when we got home! We had a lot of fun playing hide-in-mum’s-sari and wrap-mummy-up-in-her-sari-so-she-can’t-get-away… So Sandhya, even though you are very many miles away from us, you ensured we had a wonderful day together full of learning and lots of laughter. Neither M nor I can wait to go to India again!
My mother’s sari: *** (3 stars)
(And here’s another review of this book, at Saffron Tree)
We’ve been dancing to a lot of Indian music since we returned home. Here’s some of what we’ve been listening to:
And here are some other activities we want to get up to inspired by our mini holiday in almost-India:
Our hearts go out today to Sandhya, full of gratitude for her generosity and the inspiration she gave us to explore a little of our own city and a culture I’d love to know more about.
It would be great to hear what other Indian kids’ books people have enjoyed, and also to read about what countries you could visit in your own home towns – I think we’re planning on visiting China next and then perhaps Somalia!